There’s nothing quite like going to a movie theater complex to spend a few hours, or more than a few hours, to watch sports programming on a 40-foot-wide LED screen, paired with ear-pleasing, crisp cinema sound.
That’s precisely the idea behind Emagine Royal Oak’s theater room 10, which is now formally named Caesars Sportsbook Lounge Powered by Emagine. Billed as the first such sports lounge/movie theater partnership, the Vegas-style lounge is a perfect fit for the fan who can’t get enough of watching sports. It offers everything you’d see in a Vegas casino sportsbook — except there are no self-service sports betting terminals or tellers with whom to place bets on site.
Of course, this doesn’t mean a patron can’t utilize a mobile device to place bets. Caesars, FanDuel Online Sportsbook, DraftKings, etc., are easily available with the use of a cellphone. The lounge offers free high-speed wireless internet, allowing for patrons to access their mobile sportsbook accounts.
Sports betting officially became legal in Michigan in December 2019, followed by brick-and-mortar operations debuting by March 2020. By January 2021, mobile sportsbooks were up and running, and now more than a dozen exist in the state.
Doing game day in a movie theater
MI Bets took a trip to the sports lounge and found that the experience lived up to its billing. Seating includes approximately 60 large, comfortable heated leather recliners, equipped with individual tables that come with drink holders. The recliners and layout of the room are conducive to sitting back and relaxing while watching whatever is on the screen. It’s certainly a notch or two above watching at your typical sports bar.
Every seat in the lounge is a good one, whether viewing the screen from the front row or up top in the very last row.
Even on a day when only a couple of people actually stepped into the lounge, if only to see what was on the screen, it seemed clear that the room was plenty spacious to handle an enthusiastic game day crowd. (I had the place to myself for most of the weekday on which I visited.)
Though seats are normally available on a first-come, first-serve basis for patrons 21 years and older, the room is also available for private events and parties. In those instances, a bartender would be provided if requested.
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Emagine Royal Oak posts on its website a daily a listing of what will be shown in the sports lounge. On this particular day during the hours spent hanging out, the screen offered programming from eight different channels, including one designated for “showcasing a variety of betting odds.”
Good fit for a partnership
Prior to the Caesars Sportsbook partnership, Emagine Entertainment stopped showing movies in theater room 10 and began airing sports programming free of charge in late December. It didn’t take long for Emagine Entertainment officials to realize there was an audience for this idea. The sports lounge attracted packed crowds to view Michigan’s College Football Playoff semifinal game against Georgia, and for watching Super Bowl LVI. It also proved to be effective for drawing crowds to the theater during March Madness to view NCAA Tournament basketball games.
The Sports Lounge is located in an entertainment complex at 200 North Main Street in Royal Oak. Besides having double-digit movie screens for viewing the latest releases, Emagine Royal Oak offers visitors to the sports lounge plenty of food and drink options from expanded concessions and a restaurant and bar. The entrance into the top row of the Sports Lounge is about 50 steps away from a room featuring four bowling lanes and a private bar that is available for special events up to 50 people.
The first Caesars Sportsbook Lounge Powered by Emagine offers plenty of appeal for the avid sports fan. It will not be a surprise to see more of these sports lounges popping up in the future.
It’s not a sportsbook, but it’s the next best thing for someone looking for that Vegas-style sportsbook setup in Michigan.